In its latest press release, research group iSuppli proclaims that integrated graphics processors have taken over the notebook market. The firm might have a point, but based on its own data, not for another year or two. According to the press release, only 39% of notebooks sold this year are expected to rely integrated graphics processors. That number is projected to climb to 50% in 2011, 65% in 2012, and as high as 83% in 2014.
iSuppli analyst Matthew Wilkins contends that the popularity of ultraportable notebooks and tablets will drive PC makers to use integrated solutions that consume less power and generate less heat, enabling smaller form factors with better battery life. Of course, those integrated solutions will have to offer reasonably robust graphics capabilities. Gaming performance might not be a must for an ultraportable notebook, but I don't imagine that consumers will have much patience moving forward for platforms that can't smoothly play back HD or Flash video content.
What really surprises me about the iSuppli report is that only 39% of notebooks sold this year will have integrated graphics. That's still a healthy chunk of the market, but it's not the majority I was expecting. I suspect the popularity of larger notebooks that tend to employ low-end discrete GPUs can be credited—or blamed—for the results.